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Euston Train Preperation

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Up_Tilt_390

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I didn't know what else to call this thread, but a recent trip to London has had me thinking of something that sort of bugs me, and I don't want to go on a rant about something I don't understand completely. But why is the turnaround time for Liverpool trains at London Euston done the way is it?

I was looking at the departure boards, and both the Birmingham and Manchester trains had their boarding times set approximately 20 minutes before departure. In contrast, the Liverpool and Chester trains had as little as ten minutes. The train I was getting was the 19:07 departure, and it's boarding didn't begin until about 19:01, giving people just six minutes to board.

What is it that gives Liverpool and Chester passengers so little time in boarding trains when Manchester and Birmingham get twenty minutes. Maybe part of it is because the latter two cities get a train every twenty minutes, but I honestly believe that six minutes puts a lot of pressure on people carrying a lot of bags, and this isn't even considering the fact that train doors are suppose to close two minutes prior to departure.

The earliest time I recall in recent times of taking trains to Liverpool was when boarding commended eleven minutes before departure, and thankfully the driver was also in the line right next to me, so I knew the train wasn't going anywhere. But the question still sort of remains unanswered.

So if anyone can explain why this may be done, I would very much appreciate it, because I would like to know why I'm given so little time to get my train. Thanks.
 
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PHILIPE

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I didn't know what else to call this thread, but a recent trip to London has had me thinking of something that sort of bugs me, and I don't want to go on a rant about something I don't understand completely. But why is the turnaround time for Liverpool trains at London Euston done the way is it?

I was looking at the departure boards, and both the Birmingham and Manchester trains had their boarding times set approximately 20 minutes before departure. In contrast, the Liverpool and Chester trains had as little as ten minutes. The train I was getting was the 19:07 departure, and it's boarding didn't begin until about 19:01, giving people just six minutes to board.

What is it that gives Liverpool and Chester passengers so little time in boarding trains when Manchester and Birmingham get twenty minutes. Maybe part of it is because the latter two cities get a train every twenty minutes, but I honestly believe that six minutes puts a lot of pressure on people carrying a lot of bags, and this isn't even considering the fact that train doors are suppose to close two minutes prior to departure.

The earliest time I recall in recent times of taking trains to Liverpool was when boarding commended eleven minutes before departure, and thankfully the driver was also in the line right next to me, so I knew the train wasn't going anywhere. But the question still sort of remains unanswered.

So if anyone can explain why this may be done, I would very much appreciate it, because I would like to know why I'm given so little time to get my train. Thanks.

Possibly due to diagramming.
 

postye

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I didn't know what else to call this thread, but a recent trip to London has had me thinking of something that sort of bugs me, and I don't want to go on a rant about something I don't understand completely. But why is the turnaround time for Liverpool trains at London Euston done the way is it?

I was looking at the departure boards, and both the Birmingham and Manchester trains had their boarding times set approximately 20 minutes before departure. In contrast, the Liverpool and Chester trains had as little as ten minutes. The train I was getting was the 19:07 departure, and it's boarding didn't begin until about 19:01, giving people just six minutes to board.

What is it that gives Liverpool and Chester passengers so little time in boarding trains when Manchester and Birmingham get twenty minutes. Maybe part of it is because the latter two cities get a train every twenty minutes, but I honestly believe that six minutes puts a lot of pressure on people carrying a lot of bags, and this isn't even considering the fact that train doors are suppose to close two minutes prior to departure.

The earliest time I recall in recent times of taking trains to Liverpool was when boarding commended eleven minutes before departure, and thankfully the driver was also in the line right next to me, so I knew the train wasn't going anywhere. But the question still sort of remains unanswered.

So if anyone can explain why this may be done, I would very much appreciate it, because I would like to know why I'm given so little time to get my train. Thanks.

it would depend on the arrival of the incoming service.
The 1907 looks to be formed of the 1843 arrival from Manchester, so it will probably need at least 10 minutes to be emptied of passengers, cleaned and watered etc so the earliest it would be available for boarding would be 1853.
If it was Yesterday that you were referring to as the extreme late boarding, the Manchester train didn't arrive into Euston until 1854 so clearing for boarding in 7 minutes was good going.
 

Mag_seven

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I remember they used to have ridiculously short HST turn round times at Paddington after 18.00 when all services formed of ECS off Old Oak common had long left. Any disruption to inbound departures after about 18.00 often led to chaos with late starts off late inbound services that in many instances had not been cleaned.
 
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30907

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According to RTT for yesterday
- the Liverpool train left under 1 minute late, so people managed to board.

- the 1903 Brum was 10 late starting, having been formed of the 1856 arrival. Obviously not a booked turnround as it's supposed to be 25 minutes IIRC so they were obviously stepping up units to cover a failure.
- the 1920 and 1923 also turned round in under 15 minutes.

- the Holyhead had a 35 minute turnround, so not obvious why it was late boarding.
- the 1900 Manchester had a generous 40 minute turnround, which explains why it was ready so early.

Remember, too, that Virgin - or Alstom - have to source the 1846 and 1857 extras on Fridays, so they presumably squeeze turnrounds to the permitted limit. On this occasion two booked ECS arrivals, and the 1757 departure, were cancelled, which may explain the juggling.
 

driver_m

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Chester usually have 33 mins to turn round arriving at xx37 leaving xx10. That can be typically eaten into by non-tilting running, engines not working or being held at MK to let a late running Preston get some time back.

Liverpools can come from arrivals from anywhere due to the diagramming requiring sets to go to certain depots at regular intervals. The 1857 also runs Thursday. A set usually runs empty from Longsight or Edge Hill to run the additionals.
 

CyrusWuff

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Standard turnaround times can be found in the Timetable Planning Rules, along with any exceptions that may apply.

These are specified as 20 minutes for services originating from New Street or Rugby, 25 for Lime Street or Piccadilly, 30 for Holyhead and 35 for Glasgow or Edinburgh (though that can be reduced to 30 for trains via the West Mids with a 10+ dwell at Wolves).
 

AndrewE

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... none of which (apart from DriverM) really answers the OP's question as to why Chester and Liverpool services are generally only announced with about 10 minutes boarding when Manchester and Brum passengers get enough warning to get to the train without a scrum.
 

30907

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True, but the OP has only given one specific example (day and time) for each of Liverpool and North Wales and none for Birmingham and Manchester, so it is difficult to generalise.
 

AndrewE

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True, but the OP has only given one specific example (day and time) for each of Liverpool and North Wales and none for Birmingham and Manchester, so it is difficult to generalise.
I thought his last journey had crystallised his (hopefully recent/this timetable) experiences...
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Just a little notice, the short turnaround time isn't just with one service in my experience. The recent journey was the 19:07 London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street service with boarding starting at about 19:01.

My journey before then was in February, which was the 18:07 where boarding began at about 17:56, and this was a bit earlier than the last time. The one before then was in August, and was the 19:07 again which done boarding at around 19:02. Beforehand in February was the same departure, and I think it was about 18:55 boarding started. Aside from my most recent journey, these took place on a Saturday, the recent being on a Wednesday (20 April to be exact). The pattern shows me that Liverpool passengers only get around 6-12 minutes for boarding the train.

Thinking about it, I've noticed while trainspotting that some drivers arrive at their trains and prepare them about ten to twenty minutes beforehand, while others do it at last minute. Do the drivers even know what trains they will be driving before the train begins boarding?
 

AndrewE

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May or may not be relevant, but a really rough (fast?) journey from Euston to Crewe used to be noted as "Liverpool driver going home!"
I always remember it with a smile. It was a Crewe driver's son who made the comment to me...
 

Shaw S Hunter

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... none of which (apart from DriverM) really answers the OP's question as to why Chester and Liverpool services are generally only announced with about 10 minutes boarding when Manchester and Brum passengers get enough warning to get to the train without a scrum.

On more than one occasion I've boarded a Glasgow train at Euston with less than 5 minutes boarding time allowed and each time the train has got away within 60 seconds of booked time. Remember when the full VHF timetable was introduced there was an additional 3 trains to be turned round in a typical hour but using the same number of platforms so it was inevitable that that turnround times would not be as generous as before.

To be fair to VWC they employ plenty of on-train litter-pickers and between Warrington and London (hour and three-quarters) they make several passes through the train and fill several large rubbish bags in the process. Also remember that some of the turnround activities involve powered vehicles and trailers on the platform; generally a good idea to have these away from the train before letting passengers through the barriers.
 

Flying Snail

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Just a little notice, the short turnaround time isn't just with one service in my experience. The recent journey was the 19:07 London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street service with boarding starting at about 19:01.

My journey before then was in February, which was the 18:07 where boarding began at about 17:56, and this was a bit earlier than the last time. The one before then was in August, and was the 19:07 again which done boarding at around 19:02. Beforehand in February was the same departure, and I think it was about 18:55 boarding started. Aside from my most recent journey, these took place on a Saturday, the recent being on a Wednesday (20 April to be exact). The pattern shows me that Liverpool passengers only get around 6-12 minutes for boarding the train.

So your basis for suggesting the Liverpools systematically get shorter boarding times is 3 random departures over a 10 month period? Really, can you not see how far from proving anything that is?

Do some proper research and if you can provide some statistically relevant numbers then you might have a question worth answering.
 

driver_m

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To be fair it usually is 20 minutes before, providing everything is doing what it should be doing. There's no particular place that gets a shorter turnaround than anyone else. It can be brums one day, north wests the next. There's lots of reasons for delays so there isn't one simple answer to this.

And for the driver side of it, we know what we're working, but where that set will be is down to the signallers at Wembley, the engine arrangers and control. Many jobs require us to mobilise the cab a set period before but some just require taking over before departure. Delays into Euston and the requirement for a break obviously effect this too HTH.
 
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AndrewE

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Do some proper research and if you can provide some statistically relevant numbers then you might have a question worth answering.

The snail ought to accept that people judge a mode of transport (e.g. the rail industry) by their experiences and not abuse them for it. I choose the routes for my journeys based on what my recent trips have taught me and it even colours the initial decision on where to go.

It was a reasonable question to air here, as we get informed comment from people who know, and also well-researched replies from people with the analytical skills to dig out an authoritative answer quite quickly.

I would suspect that apart from sitting in front of the Euston departure board with a notepad there is no way of finding out how much boarding time is available for trains there, and even the workers could probably only give an opinion.
 

47271

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It was a perfectly reasonable question, but being sadly only too familar with boarding Glasgows, Manchesters and Liverpools at Euston, RTT at my side and running shoes on my feet, I can confirm that I've never noticed that one route is any more leisurely than another. Twenty minutes sounds unusually relaxed to me!

I don't know about Birmingham or Chester, I rarely have cause to go to either place.
 

tsr

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To be fair to VWC they employ plenty of on-train litter-pickers and between Warrington and London (hour and three-quarters) they make several passes through the train and fill several large rubbish bags in the process. Also remember that some of the turnround activities involve powered vehicles and trailers on the platform; generally a good idea to have these away from the train before letting passengers through the barriers.

I'm always interested by these sorts of comments. On Southern services, for example, you will frequently have a 12 coach train turned around at a major terminal in around 10 minutes or less, which includes disembarkation, litter picking, getting Fleet Service Quality engineering to deal with any minor faults and more major cleaning, filling up of water tanks using electric trucks, loading wheelchairs, the driver setting up the train and so on. You also used to have to load the refreshment trolley in an appropriate part of the train. All of this will be whilst passengers are boarding, and generally the train can go out in a pretty tidy state in a timely manner. Indeed I think my record for sorting all of this is somewhere around 8 minutes or less, for 12 coaches. Nowadays more and more fitters will travel onboard if a problem hasn't been fixed at the terminus, and cleaners are also known to now stay on for more stubborn problems, where previously they wouldn't.

Compare and contrast with somewhere like VTWC, where the train will be held on the boards "preparing" for a significant amount of time, having already had litter pickers en-route and dedicated catering staff to think about supplies on the way in, and I start to wonder how efficient the processes actually are. If you're precise about where passengers are allowed to go (eg. parking your water carts at such angles that passengers simply have to walk around them) and you have folks ready and waiting for turnaround cleans, you can get safe and quick turnaround performance which you'd only usually get in exceptional circumstances during massive disruption if you were at King's Cross or Euston. Is it that the processes for these trains take longer per comparable task, or simply that the "premium" experience means passengers are not allowed to be onboard when most of the turnaround tasks are done?
 

Up_Tilt_390

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I would suspect that apart from sitting in front of the Euston departure board with a notepad there is no way of finding out how much boarding time is available for trains there, and even the workers could probably only give an opinion.

On the contrary, I think I might be able to check Network Rail's live departure board on their website. I've noticed it lists the platforms consistently like it does at the station in that it's blank until the train is ready, so I'll see just how a few departures play out. Let's hope this can get me somewhere.
 

AndrewE

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On the contrary, I think I might be able to check Network Rail's live departure board on their website. I've noticed it lists the platforms consistently like it does at the station in that it's blank until the train is ready, so I'll see just how a few departures play out. Let's hope this can get me somewhere.

Virtually sitting at Euston then! Remember to keep a parallel log of RTT arrival times and platforms...
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Virtually sitting at Euston then! Remember to keep a parallel log of RTT arrival times and platforms...

If you'd like to think of it as sitting at Euston then. What I have found out about RTT though is that the platforms are sometimes wrong. In my experience, the Liverpool platforms were never what RTT said they were. I'll be carrying this out at different times of the day though. Something about the evening hours might be a factor in the turnaround times.
 

Taunton

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On Southern services, for example, you will frequently have a 12 coach train turned around at a major terminal in around 10 minutes or less, which includes disembarkation, litter picking, getting Fleet Service Quality engineering to deal with any minor faults and more major cleaning, filling up of water tanks using electric trucks, loading wheelchairs, the driver setting up the train and so on. You also used to have to load the refreshment trolley in an appropriate part of the train.
I think it's that the Southern (old days) has always managed to do it like this.

Compare and contrast with somewhere like VTWC, where the train will be held on the boards "preparing" for a significant amount of time, having already had litter pickers en-route and dedicated catering staff to think about supplies on the way in
I think that some of us would also like to know what all this "preparing" is, such that when you are finally released to the train with only minutes to go (and woe betide you if you take your eyes off the departure board for a couple of minutes, maybe go to buy something at a shop, that's it), you find they STILL haven't managed to display the reservations, which is not done until everyone has sat down in the wrong seats. For myself I would have thought that if nobody has managed to put the reservations up, it's still "preparing".
 

infobleep

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I didn't know what else to call this thread, but a recent trip to London has had me thinking of something that sort of bugs me, and I don't want to go on a rant about something I don't understand completely. But why is the turnaround time for Liverpool trains at London Euston done the way is it?

I was looking at the departure boards, and both the Birmingham and Manchester trains had their boarding times set approximately 20 minutes before departure. In contrast, the Liverpool and Chester trains had as little as ten minutes. The train I was getting was the 19:07 departure, and it's boarding didn't begin until about 19:01, giving people just six minutes to board.

What is it that gives Liverpool and Chester passengers so little time in boarding trains when Manchester and Birmingham get twenty minutes. Maybe part of it is because the latter two cities get a train every twenty minutes, but I honestly believe that six minutes puts a lot of pressure on people carrying a lot of bags, and this isn't even considering the fact that train doors are suppose to close two minutes prior to departure.

The earliest time I recall in recent times of taking trains to Liverpool was when boarding commended eleven minutes before departure, and thankfully the driver was also in the line right next to me, so I knew the train wasn't going anywhere. But the question still sort of remains unanswered.

So if anyone can explain why this may be done, I would very much appreciate it, because I would like to know why I'm given so little time to get my train. Thanks.
Think yourself lucky it was 6 minutes. I've seen London Midland services announced less than 2 minutes prior to departure and the departure platform wasn't the usual one either! The board just said the train was on time!

It left late of course but one can't expect all passengers to know this.

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